Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

Nay, and thou know'st they do. Oh, earth and

heaven!
This combat was the means my happier stars
Found out to save me from the brink of ruin ;
And can I plead against it, turn assassin
On my own life?

Valeria. Yet thou canst murder her
Thou dost pretend to love ; away, deceiver!
i'll seek some worthier messenger to plead
In beauty's cause; but first inform Horatia,
How much Valerius is the friend she thought him.

[Going. Valerius. Oh, heavens ! stay, sister; 'tis an arduous

task. Valeria. I know the task is hard, and thought I

knew Thy virtue too.

Valerius. I must, I will obey thee.
Lead on. Yet pr’ythee, for a moment leave me,
'Till I can recollect my scatter'd thoughts,
And dare to be unhappy.

Valeria. My Valerius!
I fly to tell her you but wait her pleasure. (Exit.

Valerius. Yes, I will undertake this hateful office; It never can succeed.--Yet at this instant It may be dangerous, while the people melt With fond compassion. No, it cannot be; His resolution's tix’d, and virtuous pride Forbids an alteration. To attempt it Makes her my friend, and may afford hereafter

A thousand tender hours to move my suit.
That hope determines all,

[ocr errors]

SCENE II.

Another Apartment. Enter HORATIA and VALERIA.

HORATIA with a Scarf in her Hand. Horatia. Where is thy brother? Wherefore stays

he thus? Did you conjure him ? did he say he'd come ? I have no brothers now, and fly to him As my last refuge. Did he seem averse To thy entreaties ? Are all brothers so? 66 Alas, thou told'st me he spake kindly to theel “'Tis me, 'tis me he shuns; I am the wretch " Whom virtue dares not make acquaintance with. " Yet fly to him again, entreat him hither, « Tell him for thy sake to have pity on me. " Thou are no enemy to Rome, thou hast 66 No Alban husband to claim half thy tears, " And make humanity a crime.”

Valeria. Dear maid,
Restrain your sorrows; I've already told you
My brother will with transport execute
Whatever you command.

Horatia, Oh! wherefore then
Is he away? Each moment now is precious;
If lost, 'tis lost for ever, and if gain'd,

Long scenes of lasting peace, and smiling years
Of happiness unhop'd for wait upon it.

Valeria. I will again go seek him ; pray, be calm; Success is thine if it depends on bim.

[Exit. Horatia. Success I alas, perhaps even now too late 1 labour to preserve him; the dread arm Of vengeance is already stretch'd against him, And he must fall. Yet let me strive to save him. Yes, thou dear pledge, design’d for happier hours,

[To the scarf. The gift of nuptial love, thou shalt at least Essay thy power. Olt as I fram’d thy web, He sate beside me, and would say in sport, This present, which thy love designs for me, Shali be the future bond of peace betwixt us : By this we'll suear a lasting love, by this, Through the sweet round of all our days to come, Ask, what thou wilt, and Curiatius grants it. o i shall try thee nearly now, dear youth ; Glory and I are rivals for thy heart, And one must conquer.

Enter VALERIUS and VALERIA.
Valerius. Save you, gracious lady ;
On the first message which my sister sent me
i had been here, but was oblig'd by office,
Ere to their champions each resign'd her charge,
To ratify the league 'twixt Rome and Alba.

Horatia. Are they engag'd then?

Valerius. No, not yet engag'd;
Soft pity for a while suspend the onset;
The sight of near relations, arm'd in fight
Against each other, touch'd the gazers hearts;
And senators on each side have propos'd
To change the combatants.

Horatia. My blessings on them !
Think you they will succeed?

Valerius. The chiefs themselves Are resolute to fight.

Horatia. Insatiate virtue! I must not to the field; I am confin'd A prisoner here; or sure these tears would move Their Ainty breasts.- Is Curiatius too Resolv'd on death ?-0, sir, forgive a maid, Who dares in spite of modesty confess Too soft a passion. Will you pardon me, If I entreat you to the field again, An humble suitor from the veriest wretch That ever knew distress.

Valerius. Dear lady, speak!
What would you I should do?

Horatia. O bear this to him.
Valerius. To whom?

Horatia. To Curiatius bear this scarf:
And tell him, if he ever truly lov'd;
If all the vows he breath'd were not false lures
To catch th’unwary mind and sure they were not!
O tell him how he may with honour cease
To urge his cruel right; the senators

Of Rome and Alba will approve such mildness.
Tell him his wife, if he will own that name,
Intreats him from the field ; his lost Horatia
Begs on her trembling knees he would not tempt
A certain fate, and murder her he loves.
Tell him, if he consents, she fondly swears,
By every god the varying world adores,
“ By this dear pledge of vow'd affection, swears,"
To know no brothers and no sire but him;
With him, if honour's harsh commands require it,
She'll wander forth, and seek some distant home,
Nor ever think of Rome or Alba more.
Valeria. Well, well, he will. Do not torment

thyself.
[Horatia catches hold of the scarf, which she looked

upon attentively while Valeria spoke. Horatia. Look here, Valeria, where my needle's

art

" Has drawn a Sabine virgin, drown'd in tears
“ For her lost country, and forsaken friends;
" While by her side the youthful ravisher
“ Looks ardent love, and charms her griefs away.
“ I am that maid distress'd, divided so
«'Twixt love and duty. But why rave I thus?
“ Haste haste to Curiatius and yet stay;
“ Sure I have something more to say to him:
“ I know not what it was.”

Valerius. Could I, sweet lady,
But paint your grief with half the force I feel it,
I need but tell it him, and he must yield.

« ZurückWeiter »